Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Week 16 Rankings

Let's dance...
Last week I started the 2-week championship matchup in my ESPN league, and that's pretty much all I'm focused on at this point.  Well, that and this Redskins/Eagles game on Saturday night to basically decide the division.  To make things a little more interesting, my opponent in the ESPN league championship is an Eagles fan.  I'd boo her, but it would probably make her feel right at home.  So let's just move on to the rankings, shall we?  I expanded my lists back out a bit for this final week of the fantasy season, so enjoy.  

1.Cam Newton 
2.Russell Wilson 
3.Ben Roethlisberger  
4.Blake Bortles  
5.Tom Brady
6.Carson Palmer 
7.Matthew Stafford  
8.Drew Brees
9.Aaron Rodgers
10.Tyrod Taylor
11.Ryan Fitzpatrick 
12.Derek Carr 
13.Kirk Cousins 
14.Philip Rivers 
15.Alex Smith 
16.Jameis Winston
17.Eli Manning  
18.Jay Cutler
19.Teddy Bridgewater 
20.Ryan Tannehill

I was off with my QB picks versus ESPN last week, but one was due to injury.  I was high on Marcus Mariota (ESPN #20, ME #14), who had been a top-5 fantasy QB in the previous 4 weeks.  The Patriots knocked him out of the game early, so he was unable to show what he could do in that one.  Oh well.
I was down on Philip Rivers (ESPN #13, ME NOT RANKED) who had been horrible lately.  But to be fair, he had poor performances against tough defenses (Chiefs and Broncos).  But against the soft Miami squad, he didn't need any WRs as all 3 of his TD passes went to Little Danny Woodhead.  Rivers finished as a top-12 fantasy QB.

I'm high on: Tyrod Taylor (ESPN #15, ME #10)
Last week it took garbage time for Tyrod to be a top-10 fantasy QB, but garbage time counts!  The former Hokie and Raven has been a top-5 fantasy QB in the last 4 weeks, and he's connecting with Sammy Watkins on the regular.  This week the Bills could be without Shady McCoy, so the pass could be a bigger part of the game plan.  I like for Tyrod to have 3 total TDs on Sunday, with one of them likely being with his legs.

I'm down on: Matt Ryan (ESPN #17, ME NOT RANKED) 
I'm also down on Eli this week as he travels to Minnesota without Odell, but I could see him still putting up decent numbers even without his star receiver.  But Matt Ryan?  I didn't even consider ranking him this week.  In his last 4 games, Matty Ice (COLD) has thrown for just 3 touchdowns...that's TOTAL.  And two weeks ago when he faced this same Panthers defense, he had zero TDs and 1 INT.  No way would I even be starting him in a 2 QB league this week.  

1.Adrian Peterson
2.David Johnson
3.DeAngelo Williams 
4.Doug Martin 
5.Charcandrick West
6.Devonta Freeman
7.Latavius Murray
8.Matt Forte  
9.Darren McFadden 
10.Denard Robinson    
11.Lamar Miller 
12.Tim Hightower 
13.Todd Gurley   
14.Karlos Williams 
15.Danny Woodhead   
16.Frank Gore 
17.Chris Ivory   
18.Cameron Artis-Payne  
19.Christine Michael 
20.James White  
21.Eddie Lacy  
22.Ryan Mathews  
23.Jeremy Hill 
24.Rashad Jennings
25.Javorius Allen 
26.Bilal Powell  
27.Ameer Abdullah 
28.Alfred Blue 
29.Antonio Andrews  
30.Giovani Bernard  
31.Matt Jones   
32.Ronnie Hillman  
33.Shaun Draughn
34.Jeremy Langford  
35.Mike Gillislee 
36.CJ Anderson 
37.Darren Sproles  
38.Spencer Ware 
39.Alfred Morris 
40.Charles Sims 

I went with a gut call last week on Ameer Abdullah (ESPN #34, ME #24), and he finished as a top-15 RB on Monday Night Football.  As for Tim Hightower (ESPN #13, ME #20), he barely finished in the top-25.  So I nailed both of my running back picks in Week 15.  Let's see if I can keep it rolling for the last week of the fantasy season... 

I'm high on: Antonio Andrews (ESPN #41, ME #29)
If you're looking for someone deep in the rankings who is nearly guaranteed double-digit touches, look no further than the Titan running back.  He only has one game in his last 9 in which he didn't have at least 10 carries, and he has averaged nearly 10 fantasy points per game in his last 3 contests.  The Texans are middle of the road in stopping the run, and with potentially a 3rd or 4th string QB starting for Houston, I expect this game to be close.  I like for Andrews to have a solid game, something like 75 total yards.  And if he finds the endzone, he could find himself well inside the top-20.

I'm down on: Giovani Bernard (ESPN #24, ME #30) 
He has less than 7 fantasy points in each of his last 4 games, and this week he faces a tough Bronco defense on the road.  I think the ESPN experts are a bit high on him considering his production as of late.

1.Antonio Brown 
2.Allen Robinson  
3.DeAndre Hopkins
4.Mike Evans 
5.Doug Baldwin  
6.Martavis Bryant  
7.Brandon Marshall
8.Sammy Watkins     
9.Julio Jones
10.Demaryius Thomas 
11.Alshon Jeffery 
12.Eric Decker 
13.Jeremy Maclin   
14.Calvin Johnson 
15.Larry Fitzgerald   
16.Brandin Cooks
17.DeSean Jackson 
18.Golden Tate 
19.AJ Green   
20.Michael Floyd  
21.Amari Cooper  
22.Jarvis Landry  
23.John Brown
24.Allen Hurns  
25.Kamar Aiken  
26.Ted Ginn, Jr.
27.TY Hilton
28.Emmanuel Sanders  
29.Michael Crabtree  
30.Rueben Randle 
31.Tyler Lockett 
32.Willie Snead
33.Randall Cobb    
34.Dez Bryant
35.Stefon Diggs    
36.Jordan Matthews 
37.Markus Wheaton 
38.Dorial Green-Beckham 
39.DeVante Parker 
40.Tavon Austin

I was spot on with my WR picks last week.  I liked Sammy Watkins against my Redskins in Week 15 (ESPN #14, ME #7), and he finished as a top-5 WR in the LOSS against Washington.  I was down on Michael Crabtree for the second week in a row and probably like the 10th time on the season (ESPN #16, ME #31).  Once again, I pointed out that he hadn't had more than 55 receiving yards in a game since Week 9.  Well, he actually finished with 70 yards but that was it, and he was outside of the top-40 WRs in Week 15.

I'm high on: DeVante Parker (ESPN #53, ME #39)
Remember a few weeks ago when I told you it would be the last time to buy low on DeVante Parker?  Well I wish I had listened to my own advice because I think he could be a decent keeper option for next year in my money league.  As for his last 4 games, he has at least 80 yards or a touchdown in 3 of them.  This week he faces Indy, who gives up the 4th most fantasy points to WRs this season.  I think he'll have a solid game, and if Vontae Davis matches up with Jarvis Landry all day, I think Parker could have a HUGE game.  ESPN has him ranked way too low at 53.

I'm down on: Randall Cobb (ESPN #22, ME #33) 
Without Jordy Nelson drawing coverage this year, Cobb's production has been very sub par.  He started the year off strong, but he only has double digit fantasy points in one of his last ELEVEN games.  And he has failed to break the double digit barrier in each of his last 6 contests.  This week he faces an Arizona defense that gives up the 9th-fewest fantasy points to WRs, and Cobb just ins't a WR2 this season.
1.Rob Gronkowski 
2.Greg Olsen
3.Jordan Reed  
4.Julius Thomas 
5.Delanie Walker
6.Antonio Gates
7.Gary Barnidge 
8.Ben Watson  
9.Travis Kelce   
10.Zach Miller 
11.Will Tye
12.Zach Ertz

My top-10 TEs were basically the same as ESPN's last week, and the same can be said for this week.  So let's move on to the defenses...


Last week my top-10 defenses were also virtually the same as ESPN's, so no comparisons at that position either.  This week I actually have a couple, so let's get right to them.

I'm high on: Oakland Raiders (ESPN #15, ME #12)
I'm not too high on many defenses versus the ESPN experts this week, but I thought I'd at least mention the Raiders here.  They've been a top-10 fantasy defense in the last 5 weeks, and they face a Charger team this week who gives up the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing defenses this season.  I think Philip Rivers will be on his back a lot in Oakland this weekend, and the Raiders should finish as a decent fantasy option in Week 16.

I'm down on: Pittsburgh Steelers (ESPN #3, ME #8) 
I realize that Baltimore is basically putting their entire 3rd string offense out there at this point with all of their injuries.  With a wife who is a Ravens fan...believe me, I KNOW.  But this is still Ravens/Steelers, and I can't see starting this defensive unit over one like Carolina or Denver if you've been riding them all year.  If you're in the championship in your league and have the guts to start the Steelers over one of those defenses, go for it.  But not only do I think that's the wrong move, but I actually don't believe that Baltimore will be a turnover machine in this rivalry game and I think those other defenses will be better in Week 16.

I'll probably do a wrap up article and maybe even a way-too-early 2016 rankings in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for both of those.
Good luck to everyone in Week 16!  
(Except you, Leslie...)

Oh, and Merry Christmas!
(That includes you, Leslie...I'm not that cold-blooded.)


Monday, December 14, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Week 15 Rankings

Well I'm out of championship contention in my third league, in which (if you recall) I finished with the MOST regular season fantasy points and nearly missed the playoffs.  I would have beaten either of the other teams playing last week in that league, but of course not the one I faced.  So frustrating this fantasy football sometimes.  BUT I won the 2-week first round playoff matchup against my wife in my ESPN league (sorry, honey), so I'm in the championship there.  I'm still fighting for the top spot in the Consolation bracket in my money league (which is a misnomer for me this year since I will get no money from it).  It may seem meaningless at first glance, but it could get me more bingo balls for next year's draft. 

Anyway, let's get right to the rankings!

1.Russell Wilson
2.Tom Brady
3.Cam Newton
4.Carson Palmer
5.Aaron Rodgers 
6.Blake Bortles
7.Drew Brees
8.Tyrod Taylor
9.Matthew Stafford
10.Ryan Fitzpatrick 
11.Ben Roethlisberger
12.Alex Smith 
13.Derek Carr
14.Marcus Mariota
15.Eli Manning

I told you to start Ryan Fitzpatrick with confidence last week (ESPN #13, ME #7), and he finished as a top-5 fantasy quarterback.  I also told you not to trust Ryan Tannehill in the first round of your fantasy playoffs (ESPN #14, ME NOT RANKED), and he finished outside of the top-15.  Let's see if I can nail my QB picks for two weeks in a row!

I'm high on: Marcus Mariota (ESPN #20, ME #14)
The Patriots are definitely a tough matchup for the rookie, but Mariota has quietly been a top-5 fantasy QB in the last 4 weeks.  I don't expect the Titans to keep this game close, so he'll likely be forced to throw a lot.  I could see him finishing inside the top-10 this week and is definitely worthy of higher than ESPN's ranking of 20th.

I'm down on: Philip Rivers (ESPN #13, ME NOT RANKED) 
Speaking of the last 4 weeks, not many QBs have been colder than Rivers in that span.  Some of it has been tough matchups (once against Denver and twice against Kansas City), but some of it has been his lack of healthy WRs.  The Dolphins are definitely a more favorable matchup this week, but I'm not sure I'd trust Rivers as my fantasy QB if I was in the playoffs and considering starting him.

1.Adrian Peterson
2.LeSean McCoy 
3.Doug Martin 
4.Lamar Miller 
5.DeAngelo Williams  
6.David Johnson
7.Todd Gurley  
8.Devonta Freeman  
9.Matt Forte
10.Chris Ivory  
11.Eddie Lacy   
12.Latavius Murray 
13.Denard Robinson 
14.Charcandrick West        
15.Darren McFadden 
16.Shaun Draughn  
17.Frank Gore 
18.Javorius Allen  
19.Jeremy Hill  
20.Tim Hightower 
21.Fozzy Whittaker  
22.CJ Anderson    
23.Brandon Bolden 
24.Ameer Abdullah 
25.Bryce Brown 
26.Giovani Bernard  
27.Ronnie Hillman 
28.James White 
29.Matt Jones 
30.Ryan Mathews
31.James Starks 
32.Jeremy Langford 
33.Antonio Andrews 
34.Bilal Powell   
35.Melvin Gordon 

I nailed it with my running back picks in Week 14 too.  I was high on Bilal Powell (ESPN #51, ME #34), who actually outscored Chris Ivory for the third time in 4 weeks.  Ivory had a good game himself, but it was Powell who finished as a top-12 fantasy RB.  I was down on CJ Anderson (ESPN #18, ME #23), and I said I liked a healthy Ronnie Hillman much better.  Anderson was active for this game but didn't play a snap, so he was obviously not a good play last week.  I have him back in my rankings this week, as he's expected back in the lineup. 

I'm high on: Ameer Abdullah (ESPN #34, ME #24)
Some of this is the fact that the Saints defense is horrible, but a lot of it is just gut feel.  Abdullah has been getting more carries as of late, and I have a good feeling that he's going to shine on Monday night.  The Lions aren't really playing for anything at this point, so why not feed their rookie RB and see what he can do against one of the worst defenses in the league?

I'm down on: Tim Hightower (ESPN #13, ME #20) 
Sticking with the same game, I think we might need to pump the breaks on the former Richmond Spider.  I like him enough to start him in one league at my FLEX position, but 13th just seems to high against a Lions defense that has been stopping the run a lot better in the second half of the season.  I think ESPN moved him up way too much after last week's solid performance.

1.Julio Jones  
2.DeAndre Hopkins
3.Calvin Johnson 
4.Odell Beckham, Jr.
5.Brandon Marshall
6.Allen Robinson     
7.Sammy Watkins 
8.Antonio Brown  
9.Alshon Jeffery
10.Larry Fitzgerald
11.Doug Baldwin 
12.Eric Decker 
13.Mike Evans   
14.AJ Green 
15.Demaryius Thomas
16.Jeremy Maclin 
17.Jarvis Landry  
18.John Brown
19.Danny Amendola  
20.Brandin Cooks
21.Randall Cobb
22.Martavis Bryant   
23.Allen Hurns 
24.Michael Floyd 
25.TY Hilton 
26.Amari Cooper  
27.Golden Tate 
28.Dez Bryant
29.Emmanuel Sanders 
30.Tyler Lockett
31.Michael Crabtree
32.Ted Ginn, Jr.
33.Willie Snead
34.Brandon LaFell
35.Kamar Aiken

I was 1 for 2 with my WR picks last week, but really one of them should not have counted.  I was high on Vincent Jackson (ESPN #35, ME #24), but he left early in the 2nd quarter with a knee injury and didn't return.  Tough to put that one in the "L" column due to the injury, but so be it.  I was right about Michael Crabtree (ESPN #25, ME #34), who finished with 4 catches for 19 yards against Denver.

I'm high on: Sammy Watkins (ESPN #14, ME #7)
There are only a couple of WRs hotter than Sammy over the last 3 weeks, and I don't see why he and Tyrod wouldn't keep it going against the Redskins on Sunday.  I hope Washington can slow them down enough to pull off the victory, but I think Watkins will still get his and finish as a top-10 fantasy WR.

I'm down on: Michael Crabtree (ESPN #16, ME #31) 
I hate to use the same guy two weeks in a row, but ESPN moved Crabtree up nearly 10 spots and I can't justify doing that.  I realize the matchup against Green Bay is much better than Denver, but that doesn't change the fact that Crabtree STILL hasn't had more than 55 receiving yards in a game since Week 9!  
1.Rob Gronkowski 
2.Greg Olsen
3.Jordan Reed 
4.Delanie Walker
5.Julius Thomas
6.Antonio Gates 
7.Gary Barnidge 
8.Tyler Eifert 
9.Travis Kelce 
10.Ben Watson

I whiffed on my tight end picks last week.  Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (ESPN #18, ME #8) only had 31 yards receiving and finished outside of the top-25 fantasy TEs in Week 14.  Meanwhile, Gary Barnidge (ESPN #5, ME #9) kept it rolling, even with Johnny Manziel under center.  He finished as a top-5 fantasy TE and should continue to be started down the stretch.  My top-10 this week is basically the same as ESPN's, so let's move on to the defenses.


I was 1 for 2 on my defense picks versus ESPN last week.  I was high on the Chicago Bears (ESPN #13, ME #9), but they couldn't stop Kirk Cousins (You like that?!).  The Redskins won 24-21 and only turned the ball over once.  The Bears were not a top-15 fantasy defense in Week 14, but neither were the Cincinnati Bengals (ESPN #10, ME NOT RANKED).  I tried to tell you that the Steelers would put up plenty of points against Cincy, and I'd be worried about starting the Broncos at Pittsburgh this week.  Denver just missed my top-10 this week, which is also basically the same as the ESPN expert rankings.  Sorry, but no comparisons at this position either.

Good luck to everyone in Week 15!  
(Except you, Tommy...and Leslie!)